“Stoking the fire that burns within requires a bit of soul searching and soul prodding.”

Dearest Reader,

If you asked me, I would tell you, “Yes, yes, I am a planner to the tenth degree.” However, the truth is when I put it in writing, on paper, or make a reservation, I nearly hyperventilate. Generally, I will balk like a stubborn country mule. I’ve come to realize; I am one who relies on daily rhythms and not a plan. It’s how I manage life with chronic disease, rhythm, and routine. Routine and rhythm. I’ve also acquired Ninja-stealth to pivot when my body demands.

Alas, the reality of a chronic life.

All that to say, as any decent writer should, I have a plan. I keep a writing journal, an editorial calendar, and extensive lists of all the things I want to share with you. My journal is fat with book darts and highlighted titles—namely ponderings born in predawn darkness with copious amounts of coffee.

In her book Chasing Vines, Beth Moore shared the following:

“I write on what I find most meaningful in any given season.” 

Grace abides in any given season. And, it is a grace I hold to with every ounce of my being. So I come to this place with the hopes of sharing God’s grace with you. Through his grace and leaning on one another, we will redefine the wilderness. 

My heartbeat is that the Word of God is stoking a fire within your heart. That is my plan.

***

Stoking The Fire That Burns Within

Today, our reading took us to Jeremiah thirty-six. The brevity of this passage has spurred many conversations in The Wilderness Place.  Follow me down a quick rabbit trail if you will.

My Sweet Man and I read the same Scripture plan daily, usually sitting across from one another. It has taken a good marriage to a deeper, more intimate level than I could’ve ever imagined. The payoff of our commitment to the Word and one another is beginning to bear fruit. The conversations, the sparring, is a picture of “iron sharpening iron.” (Proverbs 27:17)

It is here I will jump back into the story.

In Jeremiah, chapter thirty-six, verse one and two:

“the word came from the Lord: ‘Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today.'”

According to the ESV Study Bible, verse three tells us, “God’s merciful purpose in sending his written word was to lead Judah to repentance so they could avoid the consequences of their covenant disobedience.”

The fire burns as news of the written Word makes it to King Jehoiakim, who demands a reading. 

King Jehoiakim was sitting in his winter home with a fire burning before him.

As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments. Even when Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.” Jeremiah 36:23-25

King Jehoiakim systematically cut and burned the scroll with God’s Word without a thought, a backward glance at the consequences. We read these words and stand appalled.

Stoking the fire that burns within requires a bit of soul searching and soul prodding. King Jehoiakim failed to do either of these things. Nor did he tremble at God’s Word. 

The Bible is God’s Word, inspired by the Spirit of God. It is inherent, infallible, inexhaustive. God’s Word is perfect and divine. Also, his Word is alive and active. Therefore, it is trustworthy and demands obedience.

  • God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29
  • His Word is a burning fire. Jeremiah 20:9
  • The Word should cause our hearts to burn within us. Luke 24:31-32

My question is this: Are we merely tossing God’s Word in the fire to be destroyed? 

Are our Bibles sitting beneath a layer of dust covered by busyness and distractedness? Or worse, ministry? Do we skim the surface of His Word, checking off a box, and moving on to the next thing? Has all of our skimming the surface of and not digging deep left us empty and wanting?

Are we any better than King Jehoiakim? I’m quick to say, “Of course we are.” However, the gritty truth is, not so much. My wandering, distracted heart leaps at glittery things and feeds my need for more. My need to be seen and heard above my desire to lean in listen to God.

So again, I ask,

Are we merely tossing God’s Word in the fire to be destroyed?

 Or, are we stoking a fire in our hearts for His Word?

Stoking a fire in our hearts for God’s Word means investing personal, daily time in His Word. It is soul searching, soul prodding, and heart examination. Iron sharpening iron.

Above all else, it demands a response.

I want to leave you with the following questions.

Are you seeking God with your whole heart?

Are you spending daily personal time in the Sacred Text?

If not, how can you change that today?

“We are like Moses. The Bible is our burning bush-a faithful declaration of the presence and holiness of God.”

Jen Wilkin from Women of the Word

Dearest One, I pray we do not miss the burning bush.

Share your thoughts in the comments below or send a private email to tlmashburn@yahoo.com.

Lastly, I am here to encourage you, equip you, and guide you as you redefine your wilderness.

Your Wilderness Guide,

 

* Catch up here.

*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotes are in the English Standard Version from Bible.com

PS: My first book, Mornings In The Word, is available now. Order your copy today.

“There is no space to live well or love well, much less pursue the God who created us to be in fellowship with Him. We close the gap between what we need and what we want with more. Our spinning lives and broken hearts are empty while appearing full. We paste a smile on our face and tell anyone who asks we are okay while inside we are shattering a million different ways.” -Mornings In The Word